We've been flying a lot these days and the more we fly, the more we notice little quirks about airline travel that make no sense to us. All the rules and regulations are a mystery. Why do airlines do what they do and why do people seem to lose all common sense when flying. Each airline and airport all have different rules and different ways to operate and we grow frustrated with these inconsistencies.
It's exhausting trying to keep up to the changes that happen at each visit. Often times we sit in our seats wondering what is the point to everything that is going on so we thought we'd share some of our observations and questions we've compiled about airline travel over the past 12 months.
Airline Travel Quirks
1. Window Shades – Have you ever really wondered why we have to have our shades up for take off and landings? They say, for your safety put your shades up. Why is that? I’d really like to know. I’ve been on many flights where they don’t seem to care if I have my shade up or down and then I’ve been on other’s where they go through the cabin and make sure everyone has ultra bright sun blasting into their faces. So if some airlines don’t care why do others? It's a mystery to me.
Plus don’t you just hate those people who keep their shade up the entire flight? I’m trying to sleep or watch a movie or read or work and I can’t do anything because the guy across the aisle has his window open and the sun is shining directly into my face. The light blinds me and it’s not a good feeling.
2. Toilets – What on earth do people do in the bathroom of a plane for so long? That is a mystery I cannot solve. I can’t figure out why anyone would want to spend more time than they have to in an airplane toilet, but people seem to take a mini vacation from the flight in the loo. I remember waiting outside one bathroom for so long I thought the person died in there. When she came out, she had a book in her hand. Did she seriously give herself a toilet break and read her book while enjoying the moment?
3. Metal Cutlery – I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, why does economy class get stuck with plastic cutlery? It’s terrible for the environment. Plastic is ruining the world but airlines continue to make us eat with disposable forks. Is it really for security reasons? I don't think so considering business class gets a solid set of stainless steel knives and forks. So are the airlines saying that only people who fly budget are a security threat? It’s absurd. We used to be able to eat with proper cutlery in economy class, so why are we eating with plastic now? It's a mystery and I'd love to learn the answer.
4. Security – I have no problem with people trying to keep me safe in the air. Security is a good thing to have when you are putting a bunch of people together in a tiny tin box up in the sky. However, I would appreciate there being some sort of consistency to the rules. Some flights have you take your shoes off, others don’t. Some countries don’t care if you take your computer out of your bag while others are adamant that it be taken out of your bag and put in a separate bin all alone with nothing else touching it. We’ve had some airlines allow us to bring on our water through security while others won’t even let you take on the bottle that you bought at the gift shop right beside the boarding gate. And what is with the second security check when we're boarding anyway? Why are people stopping me at the gate to inspect my bags a second time after I just went through a security check. It's always at these inspections that I lose my precious water.
5. In Transit – Since we’re talking about security, we thought we would talk about security in transit. Here's a scenario… We’ve just come off a flight and have entered one secure area from another. We went through all the security checks at the previous airport we just left, but now we have to do it all again. Even though we just left the plane, haven't left secure area and are just trying to get to our next flight. If we didn’t finish our $5 water that we bought before boarding our previous flight, we get it taken away. “But I just bought this before boarding my plane and haven't been anywhere since flying” I protest….”no liquids on board ma'am” is all I get in reply.
If you checked bags, (especially in Canada and America) you will have to pick them up and check them again. Apparently other airports security systems aren’t up to par for North America. Even though these bags went through security check points at our point of embarkation, they have to go through all the screening once again. It's a mystery as to why.
6. TV Screens – Why do some airlines have the entertainment system turned on as soon as you board the plane while others don't put them on until you are in the air? Plus, why do the same airlines let you use your entertainment system throughout the landing and you can keep watching your movies until you arrive at the gate, while others turn off the system as your start your descent? Why not keep the movies going all the time and keep the passengers happy?
6. Ear Buds VS Headphones – Why are you allowed to wear headphones during the flight but you have to take them off for take off and landing. But you are allowed to wear earbuds anytime during the flight? It really doesn't make any sense to me, maybe someone can explain.
8. Crowding the Aisles – I can never understand why people feel the need to pop out of their seats on landing and grab their overhead luggage as soon as the seat belt sign goes off. Everyone crowds in the centre aisle waiting impatiently for the doors to open thinking that if they get up faster they’ll be off sooner. It never changes. It doesn’t matter how quickly you stand; people leave the plane in the same manner flight after flight, one row at a time.
Speaking of people crowding, what about when they call rows to board. The flight attendant will call rows 20-25 and the entire room stands up. People don’t care whether they are row 1 or 50; they’re going to try to get on that plane as soon as they can only to be turned back once they reach the gate and slowing the boarding down in the process.
8. Full Cans of Coke – Why do flight attendants on some flights give you an entire can of coke or tomato or apple juice, but on other flights you get a tiny cup filled only half full. It drives me crazy. I can't bring any liquid on the flight with me, but on most flights getting a proper drink of anything is impossible. The key to having a healthy flight is to stay hydrated and yet the airlines make it difficult to do so!
10. Flight attendants talking too much – Sometimes I wonder if the flight attendants are so bored that they feel the need to make endless announcements about mundane matters. I’m in the middle of a good movie or better yet, a sound nap and the PA system suddenly pierces through the flight to tell us something useless. Even worse, we have to sit through it all again as they say it again in French or Spanish or whatever second language is on board for the day. Some flights are worse than others, but I wish that they could all just get to the point and quickly say what they need to say so that I can get on with my rest.